By Robert Ogle
In an ideal world, your home would always be in perfect shape. The landscaping would be immaculate, clutter would be non-existent, and the house would always look perfect.
But we all know that’s not how it works. It’s easy to fall behind on bigger household chores, and that’s the idea behind “spring cleaning” – one time each year when you concentrate on things that might be less than perfect, or that you just haven’t had the chance to get to.
Even though spring is quickly slipping into summer, it’s never too late to concentrate your efforts (and your willpower) on household projects. But don’t just tackle cosmetic tasks like painting or cleaning.
Whatever your to-do list looks like, find ways to make your home safer and more secure, and put those at the top.
Landscape with a purpose
After a long winter, it’s likely that shrubs, bushes and trees all need some TLC. Believe it or not, that can have a huge impact on home security.
Look around your front door, and trim any shrubs or bushes that might be blocking a clear view from the street. Studies show that around one-third of burglars enter through the front door. The possibility of being discovered – whether by vigilant neighbors or just passers-by – is an effective deterrent, since burglars don’t like an audience.
As a bonus, you’re also deterring “porch pirates” who specialize in stealing packages that have been left by your front door.
Landscaping also makes an impact on home security in front of first-floor windows. Thorny shrubs or vines like holly, bougainvillea, pyracantha or even roses are a first layer of protection against burglars. If they’re not already in place, consider planting them.
Stay secure on the inside
Of course, even the thorniest plants can’t take the place of an effective wireless home alarm system. Protecting your home is simpler and less expensive than ever; if you don’t already have a system, it’s an important addition to your to-do list.
Start with three simple steps:
- Consider the size of your home, and all the places where a burglar could potentially enter. Doors and first-floor windows are favorite points of entry. That’ll help you choose a home security system that fits your needs exactly.
- Virtually every system has an alarm, control panel, door/window sensors, and motion detectors. But consider adding smart-home devices like video security cameras; remotely controlled locks and lights; or even a video doorbell to double your front-door protection.
- The best home security systems can be self-monitored via smartphone notification, professionally monitored by an alarm response center, or both. Shop wisely – monthly monitoring plans don’t have to break the bank.
You can install a home security system yourself, or opt for professional installation. Either way, choose a system that’s easy to set up and easy to use.
Home security deserves attention
If your home is already protected, make sure it’s in tip-top shape.
- Contact your home security monitoring provider to test your system, and make sure it’s clearly communicating with an alarm response center. (Actually, home security professionals recommend that you do this monthly, not just annually.)
- Change batteries in all of your home security system sensors and smoke/fire detection devices. Don’t wait for them to go bad.
- Make sure all your doors and windows fit snugly, and check all home alarm system contacts to see that they’re still positioned correctly. This will keep you protected and help eliminate false alarms.
Simple safety steps
Home security and home safety go hand-in-hand. Once you’ve made your house a difficult target for burglars, identify ways to reduce the risk of injury for you and your loved ones.
Start by taking an inventory of potentially dangerous chemicals, such as paint thinner, insect spray, pesticides, herbicides, or other substances that could be poisonous or harmful. Get rid of what you no longer need, but remember to comply with local ordinances regarding their disposal. Don’t just pour them down the drain or in an empty field.
Do a quick count of your fire extinguishers. They’re not just for the kitchen; use them in the garage, workshop, or outdoor grilling area. There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires, so choose the right one for any given area.
Use your time wisely
Spring and summer should be a time for fun and relaxation, especially for anyone who’s had a long, cold winter. But get started on the right foot by making safety and security a priority. That sets the stage for a worry-free summer you can really enjoy.
Robert Ogle is a writer and editor with seven years of experience in the home security industry. He currently is Senior Copywriter at Brinks Home Security and was formerly editor of Security Nation magazine for the Electronic Security Association. Robert also focuses on smart-home technology trends, as well as the impact of disruptive innovation. Connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/robertogle/